What happened at the riot on Capitol Hill?

Many people are wondering what to make of the mob that stormed the Capitol after attending a Trump rally last week. Here’s a roundup of the best commentary on what happened.

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At Gript, John McGuirk points out that the media’s outrage when it comes to rioting is incredibly selective—and that it’s only a coup when the mob is right-wing.

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In National Review, Michael Brendan Dougherty worries that the riots may have been evidence of something much deeper:

A substantial portion of people, identified with the Right, no longer believe the norms and institutions of American life protect them. They believe the rules are applied by the dictates of an implacably hostile enemy. For them, the evidence is everywhere. A government in which they had a meaningful say would have noticed declining life expectancy among middle-aged whites earlier and treated it as an emergency. A government in which they had a meaningful say would not promote synthetic ideologies about transgenderism. If truth is no defense for them, and lies are no handicap for their enemies, why should they continue to play the game?

Read “A Mostly Peaceful MAGA?” here.

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Over at The Federalist, Ben Domenech laid out his gloomy analysis of the “The Consequences of the Capitol Assault”:

What will happen next is obvious: A total crushing, anti-free speech effort that treats Trump-supporting groups like Branch Davidians. An effort to restore the fundamentally unserious neocons as the voice of reason in the room. A hardening of the bounds of the People’s House to keep people away from politicians. A use of any levers of government power — including audits, regulation, and lawfare — to harass conservatives now categorized as seditionists and terrorists by the incoming president who falsely claims to want to unite the country. And above all, a doubling down on all the policies and efforts put in place to crush exactly the type of people who showed up at the Capitol yesterday in a foolish, desperate attempt to make themselves heard.

The rioters failed in their effort and ensured their marginalization. But marginalization doesn’t mean evaporation. They’re still here. They’re still Americans. And they’re not going away. How our politicians handle that will dictate a lot about the next several years. And that shouldn’t give people a lot of hope, considering that four years after his election and two weeks before his departure, the only person they’ll apparently listen to is still Donald Trump.

Read the whole thing.

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Rod Dreher’s ongoing commentary on the situation has also been very good.

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Finally, John Stonestreet has a powerful piece at BreakPoint titled “What if what we saw yesterday at the Capitol is us?” An excerpt:

But, and this is the much more important point that many miss, character is destiny for a people as well as for a person. Yesterday, when President-elect Biden said that the actions of the mob did not reflect America, I wish he were correct. But he wasn’t. We are not a moral nation. We are lawless. We are not a nation that cultivates the kinds of families able to produce good citizens. Our institutions cannot be trusted to tell us the truth or advance the good. Our leaders think and live as if wrong means are justified by preferred ends. Our churches tickle ears and indulge narcissism. Our schools build frameworks of thinking that are not only wrong, but foster confusion and division. 

Read the entire thing.

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5 thoughts on “What happened at the riot on Capitol Hill?

  1. Sam says:

    There is so much crap here, it’s going to take a while to unpack.

    First, about coups. It seems John McGuirk forgot to check the definition. I’ll help out (from Google):

    “a sudden, violent, and illegal seizure of power from a government.”

    You want to remind me when the BLM protests stormed into the central seat of America’s government and occupied it for hours? Oh wait, that what Trump’s crowd did Tuesday.

    The BLM protests didn’t overthrow the American government for half a day. Perhaps Trump’s crowd was incompetent … but that’s precisely what they did. A poorly executed coup really without a plan, but a coup nonetheless.

    I take serious issue with the evidence the Dems are implacably hostile. Declining life expectancy … the best remedy for that is healthcare. Who is the only party fighting for access to healthcare? The Dems.

    And now, two days after Trump whipped up the crowd with election fraud lies, you’re going to repeat without evidence that “lies are no handicap” for the Dems? Honestly? We’ve had a diet of lies from Trump for four years and that is an objection for the poor beleaguered conservative? They have had pure power for years … but they feel so downtrodden by the Dems, who controlled nothing for 2 years and only one check on power for 2 years, that they only have rage left?

    No. The much more likely explanation is that they’ve been fed an alternative reality and simply can’t co-exist with the caricatures which they believe their fellow Americans are.

    Oh, a tried and true complaint about free speech. Seriously. Someone is trying to say that all speech should be allowed TWO DAYS AFTER A SPEECH RILED A CROWD INTO A RIOT. This is precisely the reason not all speech should be protected and sounds both like a whimper and a bad faith argument.

    Plus, I love that the Federalist decided to lump all conservatives with the rioters. I don’t think anyone is doing that … the rioters are Trumpists. While that may be a subset of conservatives, its not conservatives in general. That said, it is incumbent on conservatives to excise that cancer from themselves. Perhaps start with cult deprogramming?

    I’m also wondering which policies are crushing the middle aged white male. Is it tax breaks to the rich? Is it trickle down economics, which just serves to concentrate wealth with the wealthy? Is it cutting social programs which catch people as they fall? Is it stubbornly refusing to provide real healthcare? What? What is crushing them? You can’t tell me it’s whether or not that middle aged white male can beat up a person of another race or transgendered person.

    I agree – there’s little hope the Trump cultists will listen to reason from anyone but Trump. And there’s little hope that Trump will preach reason. So, what are conservatives to do with this small group in their midst? They certainly aren’t going to listen to liberals.

    And seriously … you’re going to quote someone saying blasting wrong means for preferred ends … and pretend that is not PRECISELY what happened with the pro-life movement supporting Trump to install judges, etc. I think you had a column just a few days ago celebrating the pro-life wins the Trump administration handed you.

    You do NOT get to lambast your opponent with “wrong means” and “preferred outcome” when you yourself held your nose over kids in cages, immigrant bans, wall building, etc. just for some judges and funding withdrawn. You got your preferred outcome. But you also got the chaos. Was it worth it?

    Is it worth being marginalized for a generation? Because that is a very real possibility.

    • Jonathon Van Maren says:

      Most of this is incoherent. I don’t write about immigration issues–not my field–but I tweeted my opposition to family separation. The “cages,” if that’s what we’re going to call them, were built by the previous administration, so I’m happy that Trump was shamed into stopping Obama’s policy. I didn’t vote for Trump in 2016, and didn’t support him throughout that election. There’s nothing immoral about a border wall, so no idea what you’re going on about there. The fact was that he got elected president, and that lobby groups could a) attempt to get policy passed or b) pretend nobody was in the Oval Office for four years. My approach, like many others, was to condemn him when I disagreed with him and support the policies I liked. Which, if Biden starts opposing late-term abortion or supporting the Hyde Amendment or not opposing religious freedom, I’ll also do.

      • Sam says:

        Incoherent.

        Good to know the solution to declining white male life expectancy is something other than healthcare and sharing wealth a little better. Maybe fewer abortions or banning transgender individuals from female washrooms will extend white male lives?

        I submit a white male diabetic will likely live longer if he gets his insulin and/or isn’t having to choose between paying for food and paying for insulin.

        I’m glad you didn’t vote for Trump in 2016 … but that is suspiciously specifically worded to exclude 2020.

        You’re right there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with a border wall. However, it is everything the wall represents, including America’s historic meddling in Latin America, destabilizing the countries (e.g. Chiquita Banana Company/United Fruit Company in Honduras, Columbia, etc.), then denying humanity and international law in the ensuing chaos. There’s a plethora of immoral actions that fit into the “etc.” which we are both well aware of and which you chose to skip over.

        But you’re tragically mistaken about the family separation. See the BBC article here:
        https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-44303556.

        Even if you were right, Trump clearly thought it was a good idea to use and ramp up the policy. Which is highly immoral. Especially as he ended it only after discovery and outcry.

        You might want to reframe using Trump to get your policies passed as above; however, the fact remains the “end” was your policy’s passing and the means was “Trump”. Trump was elected largely by a Christian coalition and they get to wear him. You’re Christian, pro life, which is a largely Christian policy desire, and providing moral/ethical shelter to vote Trump – you get to wear him.

        If you think anything Trump did is going to stand, you do not understand the depth of rage caused by the riot you’re trying to rationalize.

        • Jonathon Van Maren says:

          Again, this is pretty much incoherent. I’m not trying to rationalize any riot. I’m highlighting commentary that explains it. It seems that some curiousity as to *why* the events took place might be enlightening to some people.
          I simply disagree with your version of events on virtually everything else. I notice, once again, that in your comments you ignore the significant accusations against Clinton; ignore that the policies that Trump repulsively continued were begun by Democrats; in essence, reject the standard you are attempting to hold others to. I’m not going to defend Trump, because I never supported him. I’m not going to defend those who *did* justify his behavior, either. I called them out when they did. There’s plenty of valid criticism to go around on that score (especially with regard to some of the ridiculous religious grifters he surrounded himself with.) I’m simply saying that when your job is to lobby for policy, you take your opportunities–especially when many in the administration are amenable to what you wish to accomplish.

          • Sam says:

            I agree – you’re not trying to rationalize a riot, you’re passing along commentary to explain a riot.

            And I was engaging with the commentary. For example:

            “At Gript, John McGuirk points out that the media’s outrage when it comes to rioting is incredibly selective—and that it’s only a coup when the mob is right-wing.”

            Which as I pointed out ignores the very definition of “coup”.

            Again:

            “A substantial portion of people, identified with the Right, no longer believe the norms and institutions of American life protect them. They believe the rules are applied by the dictates of an implacably hostile enemy. For them, the evidence is everywhere. A government in which they had a meaningful say would have noticed declining life expectancy among middle-aged whites earlier and treated it as an emergency. A government in which they had a meaningful say would not promote synthetic ideologies about transgenderism. If truth is no defense for them, and lies are no handicap for their enemies, why should they continue to play the game?”

            To which I ask, is healthcare really the worst way to deal with declining life expectancy? Because if not, perhaps the party fighting for healthcare is the one likely to deal with the problem.

            And again:

            “What will happen next is obvious: A total crushing, anti-free speech effort that treats Trump-supporting groups like Branch Davidians.”

            Which is rich … coming directly after Trump’s riot incitement.

            Furthermore, where is your proof of the assertion that Obama started the child separation policy or built the cages? The BBC article I linked quite thoroughly debunks that.

            I will admit that my Clinton knowledge was not as rigorous as it ought to have been – I don’t have living memory of those allegations.

            That said, I don’t think I was incoherent – I was engaging with the commentary that I think it is safe to assume you agree with. And, in my view, that commentary has significant flaws throughout, as I have pointed out.

            You’re free to disagree … you’re not free to be factually incorrect. Which is why I am changing my tune on Clinton. Please read the BBC article, as I think you are badly misinformed on that score.

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